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Town Hall To Reopen With Protocols

by Connie Sartini
The Select Board voted to adopt the following protocols prepared for re-opening Town Hall prepared by Town Manager Mark Haddad.
When the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts lifts the Non-Essential Business and Shelter at Home Order, the Town of Groton will institute to following protocols to re-open Town Hall to the Public. Please note that these Protocols are subject to change by the Town Manager or Select Board when circumstances warrant such a change:
1. The Town of Groton will re-open Town Hall to employees only on the following Monday
after the Governor lifts the order. The buildings will remain closed to the public for an additional thirty (30) days from the Monday after the Governor lifts the order.
2. During the month period that the buildings are closed to the public, appointments of a critical nature as approved by the Town Manager can be made by residents/public with a particular department. Any appointment made will be held in the first- floor meeting room where a table with a “plexiglass” divider will be set up. Both the employee(s) and the member(s) of the public will be required to wear masks during any meeting. When Town Hall and the Center in West Groton are reopened to the public, members of the public will be required to wear masks when in the buildings.
3. Committee and Board meetings will continued to be held virtually (by Zoom) for a period of one (1) months after the Governor lifts the Order, or until September 1, 2020, whichever comes later.
4. Employees will be asked to return to work under the following conditions:
     a. Department Heads will return to work for their normal weekly hours beginning on that Monday. Department Heads that have an underlying medical condition that makes them susceptible to COVID-19 will continue to work from home until such time as the Town Manager, in consultation with the employee, requires them to return.
     b. Administrative Staff will return to work two weeks after the Department Heads return, unless these employees have been reporting to work on a regular basis since the Emergency Order was issued by the Governor. This would include employees at the Center of West Groton and the Country Club Staff. Administrative Staff that have an underlying medical condition that makes them susceptible to COVID-19 will continue to work from home until such time as the Town Manager, in consultation with the employee, requires them to return.
     c. Departments with more than one employee working in an open area (i.e., Treasurer’s Office, Land Use Departments, Water/DPW) will institute a shift schedule so that not more than two employees will be in an office at any given time.                 Employees in those departments will be required to wear a mask when more than one employee is present. The shift schedule will be developed by the Department Head and approved by the Town Manager.
     d. Any programs that are run at the Center in West Groton shall not exceed the current recommendations for gatherings issued by the Center for Disease Control or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Social Distancing guidelines will be strictly adhered to in any program. Please see Appendix A of the specific Protocols of the Center in West Groton.
5. Prior to the start of any shift at the Town Hall or Center in West Groton, the following will be required by each employee entering the Town Hall or Center in West Groton:
     Employees shall certify to their supervisor that they:
     • Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours. Temperatures shall be taken at the entrance of each building (at Town Hall only the Rear Entrance will be used for access to Town Hall) to certify that an employee’s temperature is not above 100.3 degrees. There shall be hand sanitizer located at each entrance. Employees shall use this sanitizer on their hands when entering the building.
     • Have not had "close contact" with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within six feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested
positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic.
     •Have not been asked to self- isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.
     • CDC recommends that people with influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100° F [37.8°C]), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
6. Further, employees exhibiting symptoms or unable to self-certify shall be directed to leave the work site and seek medical attention and applicable testing by their health care provider. They are not to return to the work site until cleared by a medical professional.
7. In addition, the following rules shall be strictly enforced for all employees:
     • Employees shall wear masks in common areas of the building. Masks will not be required in individual offices unless a condition exists where more than one (1) employee is present.
     • No handshaking
     • Wash hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
     • A "No Congregation" policy is in effect; individuals must implement social distancing by maintaining a minimum distance of six feet from other individuals.
     • Avoid face-to-face meetings – critical situations requiring in- person discussion must follow social distancing.
     • All restroom facilities/porta-potties should be cleaned and handwashing stations must be provided with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels.
     • All surfaces should be regularly cleaned, including surfaces, door handles, laptops, etc.
     • All common areas and meeting areas are to be regularly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day but preferably twice a day.
     • Be sure to use your own water bottle, and do not share
     • To avoid external contamination, we recommend everyone bring food from home. All meals shall be eaten at employee desks. Only one (1) employee at a time will allowed in the Town Hall kitchen located on the first floor of Town Hall.
     • Please maintain Social Distancing separation during breaks and lunch.
     • Cover coughing or sneezing with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands. If no tissue is available then cough into your elbow.
     • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
     • To avoid sharing germs, please clean up after yourself. DO NOT make others responsible for moving, unpacking and packing up your personal belongings.
     • If you or a family member is feeling ill, please stay home.
Haddad said, “These rules are instituted to protect our employees as well as the general public. Should any employee have a question relative to any rule or protocol, you are encouraged to contact the Town Manager at 978-448-1111 or mhaddad@
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